Sunday, September 24, 2023

The Most Important Players in the NFL

SportsThe Most Important Players in the NFL

Figure 1 One of these players will probably win the Super Bowl

The NFL football regular season is not even halfway through yet and already we are beginning to see some very interesting divisional races heating up. There have also been a few surprises along the way as well.

It will come as no surprise that the most important players we have featured are all quarterbacks. We could have included someone like Dallas Cowboy linebacker Micah Parsons – who is enjoying an incredible season so far – but it tends to be the QBs that run the show. They are the ones that end up influencing the NFL betting markets and make or break their teams’ seasons.

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills are supposed to win the Super Bowl this year. Josh Allen is the quarterback that is supposed to bring the championship to Buffalo for the first time ever. Everything is going just about perfectly so far. The Bills lead the AFC East and have enjoyed statement wins against the Rams, Ravens and Chiefs.

Allen is proving that he is the best quarterback in the league – and that means the most important player. His comeback game-winning drive against the Chiefs showed that he can do it in the most stressful circumstances too. It is a brave person that predicts anyone but the Bills winning the Super Bowl right now.

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

Sep 12, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) throws the ball against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Allen’s Bills might still be the favorite to go and win the Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona in February of next year. But it is another quarterback who is the only one still enjoying an unbeaten start to the season (at the time of writing). That would be one Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Hurts is a major reason why Philly leads the way in the entire league at the moment, with his ability on both passing and running plays. The Eagles are actually one of the most evenly balanced offensive units in the NFL and are only continuing a steady rate of improvement that began at the end of last season.

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

A few years ago, when Kansas City won its second Super Bowl in 50 years, it was generally believed that Patrick Mahomes would lead the Chiefs to more national championships in the next few seasons. That didn’t quite go as planned – but there is no doubt that Mahomes is still one of the best players in the NFL.

Mahomes lost Tyreek Hill as a passing outlet but has still been able to throw 17 touchdown passes in six weeks – that’s tied for first in the league with Josh Allen. Allen had the upper hand in that most recent match up but Mahomes will use his talent to lead the Chiefs to another divisional title at the very least and remains hugely important to the team’s success.

Figure 2 Quarterbacks are always the most important player on a team – no matter what the level

In this strange NFL season there are so many teams with records of 4-2 or 3-3 after six weeks that it is still unclear who will be booking those postseason slots. The Ravens are one of those teams, in what is a congested AFC North, but Lamar Jackson continues to play his part.

There are still too many interceptions to consider him infallible, but Jackson is third in the league in touchdown passes and has the most yards per rush of anyone – let alone just quarterbacks. If he can cut down on those turnovers, Jackson should lead the Ravens to a divisional title and then we will really see just how good he is.

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

We round off our list of important NFL players with a name that hasn’t always enjoyed the company of the other four in this article. Vikings fans will tell you that Cousins has sometimes been the reason why the team hasn’t progressed. But he has been more consistent this year and Minnesota is currently 5-1 at the top of the NFC North.

Cousins is definitely less flashy than any of the other QBs here and his aversion to risk will probably mean that the Vikings don’t end up at the Super Bowl. But his efficiency has worked so far and he is the reason why the team has managed to beat both the Packers and the Dolphins in the opening weeks.

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